Yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for any traveler who intends to visit Uganda whether for a safari, holiday or any other visit. Uganda being a tropical country makes you prone to getting Yellow Fever which is a bad illness that can ruin your safari and haunt you after when you depart. This vaccine is recommended for all travelers who are 9 months of age or older and besides, the absence of a yellow fever vaccination certificate might make you miss out on your Uganda Visa when you arrive at the airport or any entry point. However, some lucky tourists are not asked for this certificate and some purchase them at the airport at about $50 even with or without vaccination, which isn’t good. I will explain this later on in the post.
Not long ago, i bumped into a forum post on Lonely Planet about a traveler who was complaining about a $500 fee ($300 consultation charges & 220 for the vaccination plus certificate) he was required to pay to get a yellow fever certificate. He went further to propose the possibility of getting the vaccination plus certificate on arrival at a much cheaper price (not more than $50 in Uganda) BUT question is, what if you get your first bite just after landing at the airport or even after and get infected? You have to think of your life first, implicating you should be willing to pay whatever cost for it especially when it comes to your health.
The yellow fever vaccine lasts for your entire life meaning in the long run, it’s definitely worth it. Getting the vaccine from Uganda will only save you costs but won’t guarantee you absolute safety from getting yellow fever. These vaccines take at least 10 days to become fully effective and besides, the national parks you head to for safaris are the main centers of the most mosquitoes in the country. We definitely advise you to get your vaccination at whatever cost in advance and keep your vaccination certificate safe as you travel because you will need to present it at the immigration offices at your entry point before you are issued a Visa.
Still, i understand that you might fail to get a yellow fever vaccination certificate in some cases and if your safari lasts for short days (3 – 5 days), your risk might be a bit low compared to travelers whose safari packages stretch past 10 days. If you opt to take a shot at the airport or any entry point then you have to take some precautions to ensure you stay away from any mosquito bites. Also, take some prophylaxis to lower the risk. Some of the precautions to take include:
- Wear long trousers plus long sleeved shirts. These outfits should be heavy enough because some mosquito bites penetrate through light clothes.
- Sleep under the mosquito nets that are provided at safari lodges
- Avoid wearing bright colors
- Spray your room with insecticides more often
- Spray your clothes plus yourself with strong mosquito repellents
Yellow Fever is a very serious disease that claims an estimate of 20,000 – 30,000 lives each and every year. Last year (April 2016), the ministry of health confirmed a yellow fever outbreak in the norther region of the country and became more strict on travelers to carry their respective yellow fever vaccination certificates. Endeavor to get a shot at least 10 days before setting foot in Uganda and phase the urge to get vaccinated only because of a safari. It’s your own health and you should treasure it in a way that you ought to do everything the right way.